Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly has been performing for over 50 years now. His TV credits include the sitcom "Head of the Class." He co-starred with Judi Dench in the movie "Mrs. Brown." New projects include Dustin Hoffmann's directorial debut, "Quartet," with, among others, Maggie Smith. And he plays a dwarf king in "The Hobbit." But what he does, as he puts it, is standup comedy.
Since 2008, the oral history project StoryCorps has encouraged Americans to record an interview with a loved one on the day after Thanksgiving. It's become known as the National Day of Listening. This year, in conjunction with the launch of their Military Voices Initiative, the National Day of Listening is featuring conversations with veterans or those serving in the military. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay tells listeners about the military stories collected through the project and how lives change when someone listens.
Ana Julia Torres cares for hundreds of abused animals at a refuge in Cali, Colombia, including this lion named Jupiter. Many of the animals were previously owned by drug traffickers who have been arrested.
Credit Juan Forero / NPR
There are some 800 animals at the refuge run by Torres, but Jupiter the lion is her favorite.
This is America, where Thanksgiving is portrayed in popular culture as a time for gatherings of loving families and friends, holding hands while saying grace over a roast turkey, passing casseroles and footballs, reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future.
But. This being America, we also know that traditions — just like every other aspect of contemporary life — become more complex the more we examine them.
Long before singer and pianist Michael Feinstein became famous in his own right, he had the privilege of working closely with legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin, as his archivist and cataloger. In his book, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs, Feinstein writes firsthand about the musical world of the American composers and brothers, George and Ira Gershwin.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:22 pm
Ninety years ago near the village of Katonah, N.Y., art lovers Walter and Lucie Rosen bought Caramoor, a wooded estate, and built a home for their collection of painting and sculpture. Every room was a gallery, including their favorite, the Music Room; after they lost their only son in World War II, they presented a small concert series there to honor him. So began the transformation of Caramoor from a private home to an arts center and treasure for Westchester County, north of New York City.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman shake hands in front of the media after giving a statement in Jerusalem last month. Netanyahu said his Likud Party will join forces with the hard-line party of his foreign minister in upcoming parliamentary elections.
Some analysts have suggested that one impetus for the Israeli military strikes in Gaza is the upcoming election season in Israel. With elections set for January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu changed the political landscape last month by announcing that his Likud Party would run along with a right-wing party led by hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Likud Party leaders complained that they were left in the dark before the prime minister effectively vaulted Lieberman into the No. 2 political position.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Sweden, Anna Erickson got a letter accepting her into the local preschool. It had gone out to everyone in town born in '07. Great, except for one detail: Anna was born in 1907. So the 105-year-old won't be showing up to class. In New York, the elegant Waldorf-Astoria experienced a blast from the past this week when a man returned one of the hotel's silver-trimmed teapots, pilfered back in the 1930s. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Kingston, Ontario held its annual Santa Claus parade this past weekend. But Virginia, we are sad to report a Grinch was in attendance. As the Christmas-themed floats cruised down the street, a man began shouting, claiming that Santa Claus does not exist. Apparently, he had gotten into the Christmas spirits instead of the Christmas spirit. He was arrested for public intoxication. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 6:20 pm
For Thanksgiving, NASA's space food experts always try to make sure astronauts get to enjoy traditional holiday fare, even if its not exactly home cooking. And being so far from home, astronauts can get pretty attached to their comfort foods.
This year, Kevin Ford, the commander of Expedition 34 and currently working at the International Space Station, says he has the ingredients to make one favorite Thanksgiving dish the NASA nutritionists may not have anticipated: Candied yams with marshmallows.
The yams are thermostablized and come in a plastic pouch.
As we charge into the holiday gift buying season, gadgets are usually near the top of many people's wish lists. Our regular technology commentator Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg News tells us about his gadget picks for 2012.
Rich, thanks for joining us.
RICH JAROSLOVSKY: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: First, Rich, let's look at the camera. It's an amazing little machine. It doesn't even vaguely look like a camera. It looks like it must be expensive and do lots of clever tricks?
In this image provided by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (right), Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meets with Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on Sunday. Morsi has won praise for brokering the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel.
The cease-fire between Hamas and Israel has been a political boost for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The Islamist leader spent hours in meetings and on the phone with world leaders, including President Obama, and got results: a cessation of violence that puts Egypt back on the international map. But Morsi faces a test Thursday night, when negotiations on the details begin.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to announce a debt ceiling deal in July 2011. That deal laid the foundation for the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day, 2013.
New Year's Day typically inspires hope and new beginnings. But this next one may be cause for trepidation. Tax cuts for all income levels expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and most federal programs will face a 10 percent haircut — because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:20 pm
Talk about your snake-bitten congressional districts.
The Thanksgiving-eve news that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was resigning from Congress after reports that he has bipolar disorder and is the subject of a criminal probe of his spending of campaign funds, is just the latest in a series of bad endings for those who have represented Illinois' 2nd Congressional District in Washington.
A mammographer prepares a screen-film mammography test for patient Alicia Maldonado at a hospital in Los Angeles.
Credit Alyson Hurt / NPR
Over the last three decades, diagnoses of early-stage breast cancers soared, largely due to routine mammogram screening. But the incidence of late-stage cancers declined only slightly. That leads some to question whether mammograms are really doing what they're supposed to — catching early cancers before they progress.
The endless debate over routine mammograms is getting another kick from an analysis that sharply questions whether the test really does what it's supposed to.
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, coauthor of the analysis of mammography's impact, which was just published in The New England Journal of Medicine, tell Shots that the aim was to "get down to a very basic question."
Why people yawn is a mystery. But yawning starts in the womb.
Past studies have used ultrasound images to show fetuses yawning, but some scientists have argued that real yawns were getting confused with fetuses simply opening their mouths.
So Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, used a more detailed ultrasound technique to get images of fetal faces that could distinguish a true yawn from just an open mouth.
Full disclosure: The first thing I said when I saw that Rob Delaney would be talking to NPR's Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered was that I was curious to see whether he had ever said anything on Twitter — where he has almost 670,000 followers (including me) as of this writing — that they thought they could read on the radio. It's an exaggeration. But not by that much.
An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defense system, designed to intercept incoming rockets. This missile was fired from the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on Nov. 18.
In the Gaza Strip fighting, where a cease-fire was reached Wednesday, the Israeli military pounded Gaza with hundreds of airstrikes. Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that rules Gaza, launched hundreds of rocket attacks on Israel.
The weeklong battle temporarily diverted attention from Iran, the archenemy of Israel and a key ally of Hamas. Israeli leaders have threatened to strike Iran over its nuclear program.
Yet the Gaza fight may offer insights into what a possible confrontation between Israel and Iran would look like.
Samuel Yirga is a pianist from Ethiopia. A 20-something prodigy, Yirga is too young to have experienced the Ethio-jazz movement of the early 1970s, but he has absorbed its music deeply — and plenty more as well. With his debut release, Guzo, or "Journey," Yirga both revives and updates Ethiopian jazz.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 12:50 pm
The election may be over, but the bickering continues, and not just between NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin. As President Obama defends his United Nations ambassador, Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to lambast her for "misleading" reports about what happened in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Plus: Mitt Romney's "gifts" that keep on giving. And Rep. Allen West concedes in Florida.
Composer Max Richter has done a brave thing for any artist in any medium: He's messed with a classic, specifically, Vivaldi's four violin concertos known as The Four Seasons. He has a new album simply titled Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons.
Richter says that as a child, he loved The Four Seasons. But as he grew older, that passion faded.
When his teenage son ventured into social media, Virginia father Mike Robinson wanted to make sure he could keep tabs on him. Robinson works in IT, so he rigged a surveillance system that works no matter what kind of device either of them is on.
"It's sort of like a version of remote desktop that enables you to run the program kind of silently in the background," Robinson says.
One day, checking in from his iPhone, Robinson discovered that his son had come across an adult meet-up site on Facebook.